Town Mill galleries curator impresses art society

art society phil clayton
Phil Clayton, curator of the Town Mill galleries, recently visited Lyme Regis Art Society

CURATOR of Town Mill galleries was the latest guest speaker at Lyme Regis Art Society.

Holding members enthralled for two hours, Phil talked through his career – starting with a first discovery of a love of painting at 12, a struggle to get college qualifications, the awakening of a love of teaching, up to his current position with the Town Mill galleries.

Phil taught himself drawing and painting, copying the Nancy Kaminsky TV art programmes in the 1970s, and was encouraged to use oils by his art teacher in secondary school.

At 17, he left school and home to work in a bank in North London, taking A-levels at college. Leaving the bank, he went to Barnet College for a foundation course, teaching at Lauderdale House, an arts and education centre in Highgate, to make ends meet.

After a degree and further teaching experiences in schools and colleges, including working with young offenders, he became Head of Department at Yeovil College before coming on to Lyme Regis.

His paintings and drawings illustrated the different stages of this journey both in this country and in Russia and France where Phil has a studio where he can retreat to paint.

Phil’s basic advice was simple – don’t buy expensive materials and boxes of little tubes of paint. Instead, get seven or eight big tubes of cheap paint, a sheet of spare glass to mix them on, a piece of board or canvas to work on, and just paint.

He works in oils, mixing paint with walnut oil and egg yolks to speed up drying and, after covering his surface with colour-usually lemon yellow, he dabs on other colours at random, helping him to release energy and to engage with the painting surface, feeling his way into the painting.

The Lyme Regis Art Society Society meets on alternate Tuesdays in the Woodmead Halls from 2pm to 4pm until the end of March. The final demonstration of the season, ‘Working with Pastel Pans’ by Tony Hogan, will be held on Tuesday, March 20.

Visitors and new members are always welcome. For further details of these and other events, contact Sheila Stratton on 01297 445464 or visit

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